Syria is renowned for its ancient ruins, impressive mosques and traditional handicrafts, but Intrepid’s Jess Lee has another treat on her Top 10 list in this amazing country…
“Bahar, the house manager, is laughing at me. Yet again I am begging for his hummus recipe. Of course I don’t have a chance. This is the same man who once declined to give King Carlos of Spain a recipe from his kitchen when he dined here, and was only convinced to do so after a quiet word from President Bashir Al-Assad.
Set in a grand old Damascene house, Al-Khawali Restaurant in the heart of Damascus’ Old City is a feast for the eye as well as the stomach, but it’s for the latter reason that my Intrepid group have followed me here. I’ve promised them the best hummus in the Middle East and in this region, where the revered chick pea dip originated from. That’s a pretty tall order!
Thanks to the contributions of many Intrepid travellers to Vietnam, last year we raised AU$32,940 for the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Half of this amount was raised through Intrepid travellers and supporters and it was matched dollar for dollar by Intrepid Travel. Michael Brosowski at Blue Dragon has recently sent us an update of the marvellous work they are doing…
“Funds from the Intrepid Foundation have been critical in enabling Blue Dragon to run its Step Ahead program for street children in Hanoi. Our drop-in centre is unique in Hanoi; there is no other centre where any disadvantaged children can freely come to play, have a meal, and talk to social workers or psychologists. The centre is based in a rented building near the Red River, where thousands of rural-urban migrant families and children live in slums.
Bangkok is one of those exciting cities that could take you months or more to explore. For Intrepid Express reader Petra O’Neill it’s one of her favourites cities, so she shows us how she enjoys feeling at home in Thailand…
“Guide books are useful reference tools when planning journeys to new destinations, but to an extent they shape the experiences we have. After several trips to Bangkok, I’d become familiar with the palaces and wats, the trips on the Chao Phraya River, the main shopping centres and the hustlers found there. After a tuk tuk driver told me the ferry boats on the Chao Phraya River were not operating because the water level was too high, I knew it was time to experience something altogether different, more low key, the house museums that focus on Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
A good backpack book can make for fun reading while you on the road, but it can also be the perfect inspiration to get out amongst it yourself. Intrepid Express reader Rachelle Boyle found a great book that gave her the ‘get-up-and-go’…
“If you ever begin to feel like you should be settling down and being sensible then this book is the cure! Antartica on a Plate: She came she saw she burnt the toast is Alexa Thomson’s recount of how she tossed in her thriving career as a web designer to be a cook on a remote airstrip in Antarctica.
Would you love a dollar for every time someone said “wow” when they first spotted an iceberg, whale tail or sunbathing fur seal? It has to be one of the most commonly gasped exclamations on ships in Antarctica and Intrepid’s own co-founder Geoff Manchester was amongst those to be gobsmacked by the amazing Great White Continent…
“In our brochure we say, “Getting there is half the fun”, which I totally agree with. I have done my share of long and arduous, but enjoyable journeys: jammed in the back of trucks surrounded by produce in Laos, 24 hours in first class on a train in Mexico, first class standing that is, not to mention weeks pushing a truck across Zaire. But a mild storm on the way across the Drake Passage on the way to Antarctica. Now that’s a new experience!
Waka waka! With World Cup fever upon us let’s really make it ‘this time for Africa’. The Intrepid Foundation is very pleased to announce its newest beneficiary: Thusanani Children’s Foundation. Thusanani works at a grassroots level in South Africa to ensure a brighter future for babies and young children who have been orphaned through HIV/AIDS, abandonment or abusive home environments.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa is widespread and vast numbers of people are suffering. A national survey found the HIV/AIDS prevalence in females is 62% higher than males and therefore South Africa stands to lose too many mothers. This results in a growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children.
Sometimes the biggest wow factor hits when you find something new in a place you thought you knew well. Intrepid’s unique Urban Adventures are all about revealing the sides of cities that you never knew existed and as Intrepid’s Sally Johnson discovered, it can even happen in your home town…
“The most common question I hear is “do you get to try out the trips?” and I’m excited to say the answer is “yes!” Recently a group of Intrepid staff went to road test one of our newest Urban Adventures – Moonlight Kayak Tour – and it was amazing to see Melbourne from a completely different perspective.
Are you heading to South Africa to see football’s best battle it out for World Cup glory? Intrepid’s John Warland explains why it’s the perfect chance to kick off your own off-field action with our Cycle Soweto Urban Adventure…
“As a first-timer to South Africa, aware of the high crime rate I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Some friends advised me to fly on to my next destination without leaving the terminal. But I think every city is worth at least 48hrs, so before leaving home I booked my place on a Cycle Soweto tour. An early start and a leg-stretching ride seemed the perfect antidote to an 11hr flight, and the township district of Soweto is synonymous with JoBurg so I decided it was the ideal place to start my African journey.
Searching out rhinos on the back of an elephant is one of those ‘pinch-yourself’ real life experiences, but it didn’t stop there for Intrepid traveller Nathan Penny on his ‘back to nature’ adventures in Nepal…
“The early morning sunlight lit up the lower plains of the Himalayas. My 2 Nepalese guides led me through the thick jungle along a narrow track, armed only with wooden sticks. Our mission was to find an elusive sloth bear.